It continues to rain ‘price drops’ for mobile data consumers. In an industry-wide phenomenon, various operators first slashed 3G tariffs ranging from 70 percent to 80 percent. That made 3G data plans look attractive over the non-3G data card segment, which was quick to feel the pressure. An obvious fallout was that tariffs were cut to the tune of 60 percent for services like Tata Photon Plus and MTS Mblaze.
After the series of price cuts, wireless broadband pricing has become quite comparable to that of wireline broadband.
Would that also translate into wireless broadband finally taking off in a big way, just as drops in voice tariffs had led to the mobile services revolution a decade ago?
While much of the industry would be looking forward to that, some factors could act as growth inhibitors, and a wireless data revolution of a mass scale may not happen sometime soon enough.
What are some of the inhibitors?
The adoption of a product or service is not just a function of its price but also of the user need for it and the quality of experience it offers. In case of wireless broadband, while the pricing issue may largely have been addressed, the other two parameters would meet only for a cross section of users.
The crawling growth of wireline broadband is indicative that for the wider set of users, a personal broadband connection may not be so basic a need as voice. As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data, broadband subscription inched up to 13.95 million in April 2012 from 13.79 million in March 2012.
While price cuts would play catalysts to an extent, growth of wireless broadband may still be happening incrementally rather than exponentially.
Wireless would also have its share of limitations when it comes to user experience. While wireless may work well with a smart phone or a tablet, user experience would invariably drop on larger screens.
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